The Coastal Star

Paws Up For Pets: Dog inspires artist in national design contest for pooch park


                                                Tracy Rosof-Petersen of Lake Worth drew inspiration from her dog Dani
                                                 when she designed a dog park (see photo below) for the second annual
                                                                      Beneful Dream Dog Contest.
Photo provided


Arden Moore: Interpreting dog body language at dog parks

By Arden Moore


If you had $500,000 to create a dream dog park for you and your best buddy, what would you do?

One look at her high-energy dog, Dani, and Tracy Rosof-Petersen knew it was a question she must answer with an essay and short video. 

The result? This Lake Worth artist and dog lover is now one of 15 national finalists in contention for the second annual Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest. 

The winner is expected to be named sometime in October — a fact I know quite well. That’s because I — along with television host and design expert Jason Cameron — serve as the contest’s judges. 

Cameron, a licensed home improvement contractor, hosts two popular cable TV design and contracting shows and loves his three-legged dog, CJ. In 2010, we teamed up to select a winning entry submitted by Pat McNeely and watched the first $500,000 Beneful Dream Dog Park transform into reality earlier this year in Johns Creek, Ga. 

At the time of writing this column, I did not know the winner. Final scores were being tallied by the Beneful team. What I can confirm is that later this month, Cameron and I will be part of a special ceremony taking place in the city of the 2011 winner. 

                                                              A finalist winning in the Beneful Dream Dog Park contest.


You can learn more by visiting the contest’s site at

After speaking with Rosof-Petersen recently, I can tell you that she has earned top-dog status when it comes to making community improvements for both people and pets. She is an accomplished clay artist, owner of EarthArtists Clay Studio in Lake Worth and an active member of the Center for Creative Education, a program that matches artists of various disciplines with teachers and students in Palm Beach County.

And, oh yeah, she is a major advocate for pets. 

Years ago, when she lived on the other coast, she helped lead the drive to create a dog beach in Huntington Beach, Calif. 

After moving to Lake Worth and noticing that there were no dog-welcoming city parks, she spearheaded a grassroots group in 1999 to persuade city officials to allow leashed dogs in South Bryant Park. To ensure this privilege was not taken away, she also raised money to create and install homemade doggy bag dispensers that sported the names of local businesses. Earlier this year, Lake Worth officials voted to amend the city ordinance to permit leashed dogs in all of their parks.  

And now, she has her sights set on a bigger quest: to win the $500,000 Beneful Dream Dog Park Contest for her community. Individual winners also receive $10,000 and a year’s supply of Beneful dry dog food. 

“We don’t have a dog park in Lake Worth — the closest one is in West Palm Beach,” says Rosof-Petersen, who shares her home with husband, Steve, and their dogs, Dani, a 5-year-old Rhodesian Ridgeback-hound mix, and Buddy, a 13-year-old Schnauzer-poodle mix. 

Inside, Dani is a sweet, mellow, couch-lounging canine. Once outside, however, he switches to active mode, begging for marathon games of fetch and requiring two long energetic-filled walks daily. 

Unleashing her artistic creativity, she created a two-minute video for the contest that depicts what her dream dog park would look like. It features four areas for exercise, play, socializing and chilling out.  She included water features for dogs to romp and splash, art displays and places to safely watch happy dogs. 

“Dog parks are much more than a fence and patch of grass,” says Rosof-Petersen. “They deserve to be places that provide interactive play for people and their dogs. Whatever the outcome in the Beneful contest, I love that I got a conversation going in my county about the need to provide safe, creative places for dogs to play and enjoy the outdoors with their favorite people and doggy pals.”

Whether or not she wins this year’s contest, I say Rosof-Petersen deserves to take a well-earned (play) bow. 


Arden Moore, founder of Four Legged, is an animal behavior consultant, editor, author, professional speaker and certified pet first aid instructor. She happily shares her home with two dogs, two cats and one overworked vacuum cleaner. Tune in to her Oh Behave! show on Pet Life and learn more by visiting

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